6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Genesis of a much-loved work,
This review is from: Topsy Turvy [DVD]  (DVD)
"Topsy Turvy" is more than just a "play within a play" although it works very well at that level. We see the genesis of Gilbert and Sullivan's best-known work "The Mikado" after the partnership has gone through a low spell, and get enough scenes from its staging (and that of other G & S "Savoy operas") to satisfy all but the keenest of Savoayards. We enjoy immensely the way in which the premiere is rehearsed and pulled together under Gilbert's dictatorial directorship. It is all very funny but there is a darker side in the world outside. The relationship between Gilbert and Sullivan and the efforts that the impresario D'Oyley Carte and his team have to make to keep them working together are very well set out and the niceties of class distinctions in Victorian London and among the theatre people are clear. The film is longer than the current norm, but suits it.
The undoubted star is Jim Broadbent as a somewhat misanthropic Gilbert, capable of creating some of the wittiest plots and lines in the English language but not of expressing his own emotions to his dysfunctional family (we can see how he got the way he is!) or to his loving and long-suffering wife. However the rest of the cast is also very good, especially the underrated Shirley Henderson as the company's lead soprano. Watch out for Andy ("Gollum") Serkis under lots of hair as a quirky choreographer.